Australia

We’re getting there…

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Greetings from a place called Mt Isa. Yup, in the two days since my last update, me and Dot Cotton, together with my black afro seat cover called Beyonce Knowles, have covered over 1200 kays and rode like the blowing wind that’s been in my face all the way.

Tuesday morning I left Rockhampton at 3.30am, rode for fourteen hours down the longest, emptiest, straightest road I’ve ever seen. For ages there was not another soul in sight, just dusty side roads every now and again that drifted off to a farm or homestead somewhere out in the bush. Every two hours or more you get to a little town or gas station. I’d fill up, try and figure out why the hell someone would live out here and then carry on, chugging along at 65km/h to make sure Dot doesn’t go the same way as Dorris.

And on tuesday it was scortching. Must have been 40 degrees and in that heat you find yourself trying to hide from it, putting on layers of clothing rather than taking off. I had a sliver of exposed skin on my wrist between my glove and shirt sleeve that was as red as my bike by the time I got to Longreach, the town where I camped that first night.

But if sun was the bastard of Tuesday, rain was the bitch of Wednesday. Basically it’s the wet season up here, that’s why, apart from this silly sod on his moped, there are no other tourists, just truckers and local farmers. I could see the rain on the hoirzon. Big black clouds with a rain haze blowing beneath it. And of course, the road ran straight through it, so in my wet weather gear of shorts and flip flops I ploughted on through, my Beyonce Knowles drenched and me dripping. But we pushed on, all the way to where the rivers had flooded the highway. We stopped, chatted to the man in petrol station who said no way, not on a postie, then went for it. A foot deep and Dot chocking on the warm brown water that came at her like a wave, we made it through, one flood after the other, at least twenty sections all up, until we made it to some shady town in the middle of nowhere. In the servo I met Brody and Sarah, a couple heading home to Mount Isa. They offered me a couch to sleep on for the night. The sky was black, it was 5pm, I had another two hours to ride. Sounds better than a tent. I got there and they were great. Thier housemate Jason cooking Spag Bol and me falling asleep on their sofa while everyone sat around and drank some beer. Who knows if I was drooling, talking or nursing a stiffy, but finally they woke me up and suggested I must have thought I was some place else.

This morning i’m at the Mount Isa tourist info centre finding out if the road west of here is open. If it is I should make Darwin in time for the that big bloody boat from Darwin on the 27th. If not then I’m doomed, made slave by immigration who’ll call me illegal and tell me never to return. But thank the lord I’ve just found out it’s open, so soon I’ll load up and depart. Heading west along roads more desolate than those already crossed. I’ve lost half a stone, my tooth is aching, my bum is sore. But we’ll make it, rain, wind or shine. And if the last two days are anything to go by, those three things I will most certainly encounter. But as long as Dot Cotton singing sweetly and my Beyonce Knowles snug and comfy, we shall make it. So Darwin, here we come.

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